King of Hearts: Abdumumin Sharifi


Abdumumin Sharifi

The first time I met Sharifi was during the Iranian Storytelling Festival in Shìraz in 2007. He only knew Persian and Russian. I had Norwegian and English (and a smattering of Kiswahili). But our communication was still fluent.

This mountain goat (always climbing any rocky outcropping we’d come across) wears his heart not only on his sleeve, but on his chest, and it’s just as big as his entire aura. Language is no barrier, he exudes warmth and kindness, no mean feat for a man having lived through a terrible civil war.

Sharifi is an educated actor from the Russian Theatre of Tajikistan and also works as a storyteller. For the time being he is one of the main teachers at the Theatre Academy in the capital of Dushanbe. He is a devout Muslim with the heart of a sufi and often quotes Rûmi when asked about his religion:


“I am neither a Moslem nor a Hindu, I am not Christian, Zoroastrian nor Jew. (…) I am of the Divine Whole.”

I have worked on multilingual storytelling with Sharifi in several contexts, both in Tajikistan and in Oslo.

Sons of the Merchant